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August 15, 2008 | From the Associated Press
Pacific Gas and Electric Co. has signed contracts to buy enough solar energy to power 239,000 homes a year. The utility said Thursday that it would buy 800 megawatts of renewable energy from subsidiaries of Hayward-based OptiSolar Inc. and San Jose-based SunPower Corp. The electricity will come from two large-scale solar projects to be built in San Luis Obispo County on the Central California coast. OptiSolar's 550-megawatt Topaz Solar Farm project is expected to begin delivering power in 2011.
January 23, 2012 | By Tiffany Hsu
Warren Buffett, ukulele-strumming folk singer? The billionaire investor debuted his musical chops just in time for the Year of the Dragon, performing “I've Been Working on the Railroad” for a Chinese television station on the first day of the Lunar New Year. In the clip, the Oracle of Omaha is clad in a simple sweater and backed by a large model railroad set as he croons in a slighty gruff voice. At the end of his set, the Berkshire Hathaway chairman waves and says “xie xie,” or “thank you” in Mandarin.
February 19, 2014 | By Shan Li
Federal officials have announced the approval of two solar projects on public land in California and Nevada. The projects are expected to generate about 550 megawatts of renewable energy, or enough to power about 170,000 homes, the Interior Department said in a statement Wednesday. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said the two projects are among 50 such utility-scale renewable proposals that have been approved by the department since 2009. PHOTOS: Richest and poorest cities in America The Stateline Solar Farm Project will be built in San Bernardino County about two miles south of the Nevada border.
March 13, 2013 | By Julie Cart
The Obama administration continued its push to ramp up renewable energy projects on public land, approving three new projects on Wednesday, including what would become the largest solar power plant in the world. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced the approvals in San Francisco alongside Gov. Jerry Brown. The bulk of the coming renewables rush is happening in the state -- since 2009, more than 15 gigawatts of wind, solar, geothermal and transmission projects have been approved on federal land in California.
December 2, 2009 | By Phil Willon
Nearly a century after Los Angeles drained Owens Lake by diverting its water to the Los Angeles Aqueduct, the city now hopes to generate solar energy on the dusty salt flats it left behind. The Department of Water and Power's board of commissioners Tuesday unanimously approved a renewable energy pilot project that would cover 616 acres of lake bed with solar arrays -- a possible precursor to a mammoth solar farm that could cover thousands of acres. City utility officials hope that, along with generating power for L.A., the solar panels would reduce the fierce dust storms that rise from the dry lake bed. To comply with federal clean air standards, the DWP must control the dust that has plagued the Owens Valley for decades.
November 5, 2007 | From the Associated Press
Like any successful company, NBC Universal has always celebrated green -- as in money. But this week, green is taking on a whole new shade as the company goes with environmentally themed content across all of its programming outlets. "NBC Nightly News" will dedicate each weeknight to an environmental topic, and MSNBC will zero in on the politics of green. Eco-friendly pop-ups will be featured on the season premiere of Bravo's "Real Housewives of Orange County" (Tuesday, 10 p.m.
December 7, 2011 | Bloomberg News
Warren Buffett's MidAmerican Energy Holdings utility agreed to buy the $2 billion Topaz project in California, branching into solar power after the industry was battered by stock markets around the world. The Topaz Solar Farm will be one of the world's largest photovoltaic power plants and is being developed by the seller, First Solar Inc. of Tempe, Ariz. Terms weren't disclosed. The project's 550- megawatt capacity is equal to about half a new nuclear reactor. Buffett's Iowa-based utility, which entered clean energy buying U.S. wind farms and a stake in Chinese electric-car producer BYD Co., struck the deal Wednesday after First Solar failed to get a U.S. government loan guarantee for the project that will use First Solar's thin-film solar panels.
January 29, 2012 | By Michael J. Mishak, Los Angeles Times
Late last year, Gov. Jerry Brown pushed for a top state regulator to ease key requirements for companies seeking to tap California's oil. The official balked. Relaxing rules on underground injection, a risky method of oil extraction common in the state, would violate environmental laws, wrote Derek Chernow, then head of the Department of Conservation, in a memo obtained by The Times. The process, in which a rush of steam, water and chemicals flushes oil from old wells, had been linked to spills, eruptions and a Kern County worker's death.
March 4, 2012 | By Julie Cart, Los Angeles Times
Stubborn does not come close to describing the desert tortoise, a species that did its evolving more than 220 million years ago and has since remained resolutely prehistoric. Its slowpoke take on biological adaptation has exposed modern vulnerabilities. The persnickety reptile is today beset by respiratory infections and prone to disease. Its only defenses are the shell on its back and the scent of its unspeakably foul urine. FOR THE RECORD: The subheadline on an earlier online version of this article erred in describing the desert tortoises as "endangered creatures.
April 30, 2013 | By Julie Cart, Los Angeles Times
Epidemiologists are investigating an outbreak of valley fever that has sickened 28 workers at two large solar power construction sites in San Luis Obispo County. Staff from the California Department of Public Health, and investigators from the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health and San Luis Obispo County visited the sites near the Carrizo Plain two months ago, officials said. They identified the sites as the Topaz Solar Farm and California Valley Solar Ranch, two large-scale photovoltaic power plants whose construction often requires considerable scraping and clearing to make way for thousands of acres of solar panels.
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